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This page is written by the game's inventor, Greg Shanker. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Deception Chess


With Deception Chess each player has two complete sets of traditional chess pieces. The base pieces fit within another set of cloak pieces, such that the identity of the base piece is concealed from your opponent. Any base can fit within any cloak. Pieces are moved according to their current identity on the board. At the beginning of a players’ turn they may remove the cloak from one of their pieces and reveal the identity of the concealed base piece. Each base piece has an identifier on the bottom, so that players can refresh their memory. The base and cloak pieces interlock or couple so that they can be picked up and moved as a single piece.


Set up: Before play each player couples their base pieces with their cloak pieces. The coupled pieces are then arranged on a chess board according to the traditional placement of the visible cloak pieces. It is suggested that players first place the base pieces on the board according to their desired strategy, and then place the cloaks on top of the bases according to their traditional starting positions. Players may want to place screens across the board to shield the placement of their base pieces from their opponent during set up.


Basic Play: Play is similar to traditional chess with players alternating turns of moving pieces. The one variation is that players have the option of uncloaking a piece, removing the cloak from the base, prior to moving a piece. Once the cloak is removed it is set aside off the board. The base piece is placed on the space of the prior coupled piece. Pieces are then moved according to their currently visible identity of either cloak or revealed base. All moves of traditional chess apply, including Castling, En passant, and Promotion.


Capturing: Pieces are captured and removed from the board according to the traditional rules of chess. When a player places one of their pieces on the space occupied by their opponent’s piece, the opponents piece is removed from the board. If the captured piece has already been uncloaked, then the base piece is simply removed from the board. If the captured piece is still cloaked, then the cloak is removed and both the cloak and the base are removed from the board.


End Game: The game ends when one of the players base king piece is captured. Since the base king may be hidden beneath a cloak, the identity and location of this king may not be known to the opponent. Therefore, the customs of declaring Check and Checkmate are not used in Deception Chess. Pieces are merely captured according to the rules of play. When one of the player’s base king is captured, the game is over and the capturing player is declared the winner.


Strategic Elements: Deception Chess provides several nuances that make play distinctly different from traditional chess.


Hidden King: Much of the challenge of Deception Chess stems from hiding the location of the base king. Players will need to develop strategies for placement and movement of their concealed king, as well as methods for locating and capturing their opponent’s king.


Multiple Queens: Deception Chess allows players to uncloak their base queen before any move. This means that players can easily have two queens on the board at the same time; the cloak queen and the base queen.


Surprise Attack: Players can uncloak and reveal any piece before their move. This allows players to attack with a previously concealed piece in an unanticipated fashion. Pieces which may not have appeared to be threaten by the visible pieces on the board, may be taken by the surprise movement of an uncloaked piece. 


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By Greg Shanker.
Web page created: 2018-04-01. Web page last updated: 2018-04-01